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This article examines the history and content of the Neijing tu 內經圖 (Diagram of Internal Pathways), a late nineteenth-century stele currently housed in Baiyun guan 白雲觀 (White Cloud Monastery; Beijing). The diagram is one of the most well-known illustrations of the Daoist body, though its historical provenance has not been sufficiently documented to date.
The present article provides a more complete account of its context of production and dissemination, namely, within the context of Baiyun guan, the late imperial Longmen 龍門 (Dragon Gate) lineage of the Quanzhen 全 真 (Complete Perfection) monastic order, and elite imperial court culture. I then turn to a systematic study of its contents and the Daoist methods expressed in its contours. Within its topographical landscape, one finds a specific vision of the Daoist body, a body actualized through Daoist alchemical praxis. As such, the Neijing tu and its various rubbings were more than likely intended as visual aids for Daoist religious training.
For readability, the article has been divided into two parts. The current section discusses the diagram’s historical and terminological dimensions. The second part, scheduled to be published in the next issue of the Journal of Daoist Studies, focuses on content and includes a complete bilingual translation with illustrations.